The Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) has called on government to appeal to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) and shipping lines to give unconditional waivers on demurrage and rent charges during the lockdown period.
In a statement released to the press, the Traders Association registered their displeasure over the decision of the GPHA and the shipping lines to ask them to come clear their goods, which are locked in warehouses at the port, or pay demurrages to have them remain in the warehouses.
This directive, GUTA says, does not make sense because their businesses have been closed down due to the lockdown.
“It is very sad that while most of our members cannot move out freely because they are all adhering to the restrictions announced by government, the shipping lines are asking that since they are still working, our members whose goods have arrived at the ports should clear them or pay demurrage if the containers continue to remain at the ports during this lockdown period”, portions of the statement read.
Clear your goods or pay demurrages
Again, the Statement adds that “the Ghana Ports and Harbor Authority is also asking importers to clear their goods from their warehouses or pay further rent charges”.
GUTA says most of its members are currently facing difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic as the lockdown has prevented them from working, hence their inability to pay port duties at the moment.
According to the GUTA, despite persistent calls on the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ghana Shippers Authority speak to the GPHA and Shipping lines to rescind their directive, their effort has not yielded any results as none of their pleas have been responded to.
“It is quite sad that to them it is business as usual while the importer, because of the national interest, is adhering to government’s directives so as to ensure that we all fight this very contagious pandemic together,” the statement read.
GUTA is, therefore, asking the government to waive the demurrage and rent charges unconditionally during this lockdown period so that their members are not forced to clear their goods and open their shops and warehouses to offload their goods.
“We will also advise that inspite of the fact that government agencies like GRA, GPHA etc. want revenue, they cannot put the lives of Ghanaians in danger so we ask that government orders that consignments that form part of essential goods only must be cleared while all others must be held on till the end of the lock down unless under special dispensation,” the statement concluded.
Attached below is the GUTA StatementGUTA-Statement